Today Christianity celebrates Epiphany, or the revelation of Jesus Christ to humanity. Since living in Switzerland I tough that the catholic feast of the Three Kings was something else entirely than the orthodox one I was used to, Boboteaza = Baptism. It took me a while to understand that western and eastern Christians actually celebrate the same idea, the revelation of God incarnated as Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the world.
Here comes a Christmas tradition from a special canton of Switzerland, Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, the smallest Swiss federal state by population number and the last one to award women the right to vote in cantonal elections (only in 1991). Appenzell Inner-Rhodes is most known for the practice of Landsgemeinde, open voting by the raising of hands in the public town square, one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. This canton is also known for its unique folk costumes, naive paintings and agrarian traditions. Its relative isolation, it is located away from the main communication routes, was a contributing factor in the preservation of the specificity of traditional practices at various times of the year. One of these unique practices is the Chlausezüüg.
Tomorrow, the 13th of December, people in Scandinavia and in other parts of the world (Italy, Croatia) celebrate Saint Lucia. I particularly like the Swedish tradition observed on this day and I decided to honor it with an illustrated interpretation and by baking the delicious Swedish Lussekatt, a sweet saffron bun served on this occasion.
Winter is my favorite season and it is also the time of the year where I feel the most creative. Maybe we are programmed like that through millennia of evolution. Not long ago, women would spend the long winter days doing all sorts of handicrafts (weaving, sewing or knitting). Now we have Netflix and social media and we have replaced needle and thread with modern gadgets. Continue reading “Recipe for a cozy winter”
When I moved to Fribourg from the overcrowded and suffocating place where I lived before, shared with almost 4 other million souls, I had the impression nothing much was happening…no Christmas rush, no over the top Christmas lights or a huge Christmas market.
I still have one of the toys that Saint Nicholas left in my boots when I was a child, it’s a mother gorilla stuffed toy holding a baby gorilla in her arms. I had named her Uga because at that time I thought she looked like the daughter of Ugo Fantozzi, an Italian series my mother was watching on TV. I gave it to Friboy a while ago and told him that it was from Saint Nicholas, he was shocked because he doesn’t picture me as a child. I am his mom, I couldn’t have been a smaller person that believed in magic and waited impatiently for Saint Nicholas just like him. He never reacted like this when I showed him photos of me as a child, this gorilla made me that little girl in his eyes.
Autumn school break is over which means that for the past two days I have been binging on Harry Potter and Kambly biberli and taking long baths…in the bathtub. While our vacations have been getting easier because FriBoy has grown into a collaborative, easygoing and fun kid to be around, I still find it hard to manage his activities all by myself. We haven’t had grandparents here to help out in a long while, and those couple of hours a day, while they were in charge and I got to sit and do nothing, really mattered.
Last Wednesday was the earliest Earth Overshoot Day ever registered, which means we have used more resources from our planet than it can renew within a year, with still 5 months to go till the end of the year. This date happened to fall on the Swiss National Day – 1st of August, which made big news. According to Swissinfo, Switzerland is operating as if it had three planets at its disposal: it passed its country overshoot day on May 7. If everyone on the planet could afford the lifestyle of people living in Switzerland, as well as in many parts of Europe, it would be for a very very short time.
Half way through summer vacation and I feel like it has been another school year where I am the teacher. I had stopped drinking coffee a while ago, but vacation is not helping out with my resolution. Creativity is also fatigue, unless you take a break from it. And this has been our most intensely creative vacation, Friboy wants to create and build stuff every day, we even did it while vacationing in Latvia.
I wrote about the Old Highland Museum in a previous blog post in the context of their temporary exhibition of Swiss paper-cut art. However, this museum is well worth a visit for their permanent exhibition of traditional art and lifestyle of the Fribourg highlands.